COLOGNE, Germany – The assembly line at Ford’s Dagenham Diesel Centre in the UK will be fully powered by wind-generated electricity from the end of this month, thanks to the erection of a third turbine. This new addition will double the annual CO2 saving from 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes per year.
The three turbines on the Dagenham estate convert wind energy into electricity to power production at the DDC. Increased output of the DDC engine assembly line – due to the installation of a new 1.4/1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine production line – required the construction of this third turbine in order to remain 100 per cent powered by wind-generated electricity. The site’s location on the banks of the River Thames makes it the ideal location to utilise this environmentally-friendly technology.
The two existing wind turbines currently generate 5.92 million kWh of electricity per year – the equivalent of powering 1,794 homes. With the addition of the third turbine, the amount of electricity generated reaches 11.4 million kWh per year – enough to power twice the number of homes. Ground work and foundation construction began in May, and the third turbine is now operational.
“Since 2000, we have reduced our global operational energy use by 30 per cent and CO2 emissions from our facilities by 39 per cent,” said Ken Macfarlane, Vice President Manufacturing, Ford of Europe. “Globally Ford is committed to continue leading the way in environmental responsibility, whether with the vehicles and powertrains we make or through the processes we use to make them.”
Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity which supplied the new turbine, said: “It’s great to see a company like Ford taking the lead in this way, powering their modern diesel engine centre with green energy from our windmills. When big businesses like Ford use wind energy like this, it lends real credibility to the cause.”
DDC wind turbine data
|Green electricity per year
||5.58 million kWh
||11.4 million kWh|
|Homes powered (equiv)
Green energy supply across Europe
The new turbine is the latest part of Ford’s ongoing Green Energy Initiative, of which wind power plays an important part.
At the end of 2009, two gigantic wind turbines, each with a height of 150 metres, spun into action producing ‘green’ electricity for Ford’s Genk Plant in Belgium. The two megawatt-capacity Genk turbines, installed by local energy company Electrabel, each produce enough energy to power 2,300 private homes. They now provide a significant amount of the power needed at the production home of Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models, with other renewable energy sources making up the remainder. Together, these energy sources help the plant save around 40,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
Elsewhere, renewable energy sources are also employed in many of Ford of Europe’s other sites, helping the company to further reduce its carbon footprint. Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in the UK has been powered by 100 per cent renewable energy since spring 2008, replacing the traditional sources that would have generated 35,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
In German, Ford’s production facilities at the Niehl Plant, the Technical Centre in Merkenich and Ford of Europe’s head office electricity comes from three hydro-power plants in Norway and Sweden. The Merkenich Technical Centre also uses steam generated as a by-product of a cogeneration power plant of the local energy provider RheinEnergie to supply its heating. These measures combined reduce annual CO2 emissions by 190,000 tonnes.
In Ford’s Bridgend engine plant in Wales, solar power from roof-mounted solar/photovoltaic panels has helped the site to reduce its CO2 emissions for a number of years now.
Richard Douthwaite, manager, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, Ford of Europe, said: “On an individual basis we are looking to improve the CO2 footprint of our plants across Europe, there is no one-fits-all solution. All the plants have different layouts and different opportunities to adopt green power – such as external factors like airstream or hours of sunshine per day, as well as local regulations. We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and will continue to do so as we constantly strive to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Planting the roots of sustainability
The United Nations has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests, aiming to raise awareness on sustainable management and development as well as the conservation of forests, yet Ford has recognised the importance of sustainable woodlands since the mid-1990s.
In a marketing campaign throughout Germany, Ford sponsored the planting of one tree for every car without a catalytic convertor taken in part exchange for a new car. The first year, 1996, saw over 50,000 seedlings being planted near Cologne, which are now fully grown into eight mature woodlands covering an area as big as 20 football pitches.
Over 200,000 trees were planted in the scheme, enough to store 160 tonnes of CO2 annually – as much as Fiesta ECOnetic emits in one million kilometres (620,000 miles).
Dr Wolfgang Hennig, programme management, Sustainability Strategy/Corporate Citizenship, Ford of Germany, added: “Those sponsored reforestations literally stand for Ford’s holistic sustainability approach – we have reduced the CO2 emissions of European Ford vehicles by nearly 30 per cent over the past 15 years. With the sponsored reforestations Ford contributed to CO2 storage in the biomass, and it also helped to promote local biodiversity.”
The forests are recorded in a regional forestry database, and you can find geo-tagged satellite images and more info at: http://ixp-media.com/waldvermehrung (click on ‘Walddatenbank’, select ‘Ford-Werke AG’ in the drop-down menu).